How Does Helicopter Parenting Affect Your Child?

Parenting is hard. There’s no doubt about it. But when do you cross the line from being a conscientious caregiver to being a hovering helicopter parent? And more importantly, what are the long-term effects of helicopter parenting on your child? Keep reading to find out more about helicopter parenting, how it might affect your child, and how you can avoid doing too much of it without sacrificing your close relationship with your child.

What Is Helicopter Parenting?

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If you’ve ever heard the term “helicopter parenting,” you might be wondering what it means. Helicopter parenting is a term used to describe parents who are overly involved in their child’s life. Helicopter parents constantly hover over their children, trying to micromanage every aspect of their lives. It could be as simple as never letting a child play alone and preventing every minor accident. It is done to an extreme, with some helicopter parents controlling every aspect of their children’s lives, including what sports to play, whom to make friends with, and even deciding on college applications and job interviews!

Helicopter parents are often so eager to give their children the best chance at success that they go overboard in helping them. But this attitude may not always have positive effects on kids, and in some cases, it can even harm more than help!

The Effects Of Helicopter Parenting

Although helicopter parenting is often considered flawed, it’s not all that bad. In case something goes wrong, knowing where your children are at any given moment can be very helpful for young children and teenagers raised by helicopter parents. They are always on top of their kids’ well-being. Whether it’s an academic struggle or an illness, these caring people will do everything to get the issue resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Helicopter parents are often enthusiastic about their children’s activities and proud that they have been able to provide them with a fulfilling life. It is true that many times over, the children of these helicopter families show up on time for school or club meetings; finish all homework assignments without complaint (even if it means doing extra work after hours); know what clothes will be perfect for any occasion–and most importantly, act like professionals both inside and outside of class. And when it comes to being involved in school functions, helicopter parents make sure that everything gets done.

On the other hand, too much involvement in a child’s life can be detrimental. Subliminally, helicopter parents are teaching their children that they will not be safe unless mom and dad are there to watch over them. These kids are not prepared for daily challenges and often have trouble making decisions when they are left to their own devices. In a study from 2016, researchers found that helicopter parenting is linked to lower ability in emotional functioning, decision making, and academic performance.

As children of helicopter parents grow up, they may start to doubt their own abilities since there was never any need for them to figure out anything on the fly. This can lead to feelings of low confidence and self-esteem, which could become so bad that it causes other problems such as anxiety or depression. In fact, results of a 2011 study on college students suggest that helicopter parenting is positively related to the use of prescription medications for anxiety and depression.

How To Know If You’re A Helicopter Parent: Signs To Look Out For

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As any parent knows, it can be hard to let go. But sometimes, you may need to take a step back and ask yourself whether you’re being a helicopter parent. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Do you hover over your child at the playground, ready to catch them if they slip?
  • Are you always aware of where they are and what they are doing?
  • Do you get overly anxious when they’re not with you?
  • Are you responsible for doing your child’s homework?
  • Do you always clean up after and fix things for your children?
  • Are you always the one to make decisions for your teenager?
  • Do you never let your child fail?

If you find yourself nodding along to these signs, don’t worry—it’s not too late to change course. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being protective of your child. But if you’re constantly hovering, it can actually do more harm than good. Your child may start to feel suffocated, and they may not learn how to cope with minor setbacks and challenges. So if you’re wondering whether you might be a helicopter parent, just ask yourself: are you giving your child the space to grow? Just remember that sometimes, the best thing you can do for your child is to let them spread their wings and discover how to fly on their own.

Tips For Reducing Helicopter Parenting Tendencies

It can be difficult to let go and trust that your child can handle things on their own. After all, you want what’s best for them, and it’s natural to want to protect them from harm. If you find yourself hovering a little too close to your child’s playdate or frantically refreshing your child’s college application status, there are a few things you can do to reduce your helicopter tendencies.

  1. Take a step back and evaluate your motivation. Are you hovering because you genuinely want what’s best for your child, or are you doing it out of anxiety or fear? If it’s the latter, try to address the root of your anxiety. This may require some soul-searching, but it will be worth it in the long run.
  2. Give your child some space to grow. Encourage them to try new things and make their own decisions.
  3. Try to let your child experience some age-appropriate risks and challenges. This does not mean putting them in danger, but rather giving them the opportunity to stretch themselves and learn from their mistakes.
  4. Allow your kids to fail sometimes. It’s okay if they make mistakes—it’s how they learn and grow. It’s essential for children to develop resilience, and this can only happen if they’re allowed to fail sometimes.
  5. Resist the temptation to fix every problem. Instead, allow your child to experience setbacks and learn how to cope with adversity. Trust your child’s judgement and have faith in their ability to handle things independently.
  6. Try to model healthy coping skills for your child. If you’re able to deal with stress in a positive way, they’re more likely to do the same.
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Parenting is a team effort, after all!

By following these tips, you can help your child develop the skills they need to thrive in life while also reducing your stress levels in the process.

The Benefits Of Un-helicoptering Your Child

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It’s so easy for parents to be tempted to hover over their children and try to protect them from every bump and bruise. I know I was! But I’ve realized the importance of giving my kids some space and letting them figure things out on their own. It’s not always easy, but it’s so important.

Kids who are given the opportunity to explore and take risks tend to be more resilient and independent. So, if you’re looking for a way to give your child a leg up in life, consider un-helicoptering them. It may not be easy, but it’s definitely worth it. Kids who are allowed to take risks and explore their surroundings tend to be more confident and independent. They’re also more likely to have higher self-esteem and be better able to cope with setbacks. So, if you’re looking for a way to help your child succeed in life, un-helicoptering them is a good place to start.

It allows them to develop problem-solving skills. If they’re constantly being spoon-fed solutions, they never learn how to come up with their own solutions. And that can be a real handicap later in life. Whenever they face a new problem or challenge, they won’t know how to deal with it because they’ve never had to before. But if you un-helicopter them and allow them to struggle a bit, they’ll learn how to think for themselves and come up with creative solutions.

Final Thoughts

Helicopter parenting can have some serious consequences for children, as they don’t get the opportunity to learn how to problem-solve or cope with setbacks on their own. The benefits of un-helicoptering your child can be profound, so it’s definitely worth giving it a try. Have you ever tried un-helicoptering your child? What was the experience like? Or do you have any tips that could help other parents? Let us know in the comments!



I'm a Mom of two daughters, Freya and Ava. I love to share insights on how parents can be better parents. I write about topics that are relevant to me as a parent: things like parenting style, relationship, marriage, and balancing work and family.

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